Sat 25th June – 2nd XI v Bank of England

DULWICH 130-5 (20) winning draw vs BANK OF ENGLAND 195-8 (46)


After a run of four successive victories, table-topping Dulwich welcomed a struggling Bank of England to the DSG.

The falling pound has not been kind to the Bank of England in recent days and it was no different here, as Captain Bridgland won yet another toss and chose to bowl. With rain forecast later in the afternoon, Dulwich knew they must be at their clinical best if they were to force a result.

Bridgland opened up alongside Instagram filter enthusiast Kamran Munawar. As he so often does, Bridgland made the first breakthrough, inducing a thick edge to Guy Skinner. Never one to relinquish the limelight for long, Dulwich’s resident poet, Munawar, found a prodigious amount of swing, bowling two Bank batsmen in quick succession.

At 40/3, things were looking good for Dulwich. But with every chance of rolling Bank for a cheap total, Dulwich took their eye off the ball. Literally. Before the match, red ink enthusiast Matthew Balch* had led the side in an intense array of incomprehensible fielding drills. His efforts, however, were futile as dropped chances, misfields and overthrows abound: even Bridgland shelled a simple caught and bowled. Dutifully as ever, medium pacer Ian Austin Matt Quaife quickly followed his captain’s lead.

The introduction of spin did little to turn the tide in Dulwich’s favour as Bank opener, Ali Killham, cashed in – launching two straight sixes to bring up his fifty in good time. With the partnership gathering pace, Dulwich were in disarray. Bowlers lost their line and length and no-one could quite decide where exactly they would be best positioned in order to misfield next.

After a quiet chat between slip and long-off, captain Bridgland took heed of the week’s events and stamped out any notions of democracy, placing his only useful fielder at short mid-off. This wise decision paid dividends, as, two balls later, Killham drove straight to safe-hands Skinner for a well made 63.

Two further quick wickets followed, but any sense of order was short lived. With the rain fast approaching, Bank were gifted a stimulus package as they deposited long-hop after long-hop to the boundary. Only the formidable Bridgland-Frezzato partnership providing any respite for Dulwich. It came as some relief when the wrath of Thor descended, with Bank leaving the field 195/8 off 46 overs, Bridgland the stand out bowler yet again with 3/25.

After a sustained downpour, further play looked unlikely. Bogs had formed on the outfield, puddles adorned square, the covers had proved scant protection from the driving rain. However, a determined Bridgland would not be defeated by such trivialities and, eager to make amends for their earlier display, the team set about a rescue operation. The performance levels rose faster than the dollar as Dulwich executed their skill sets manfully. On the bowdry, Zakir Rostami and Balch* settled into their lines and lengths, Bridgland, Hirst, Skinner and medium pacer Binny Quaife found good areas with the pitchforks and Raj Tulsiani kept his eye on the ball… as he sat watching Euro 2016.

With the water cleared, the match resumed in front of a gathering crowd. Dulwich had just 20 overs to chase down Bank’s 195. Tulsiani and birthday boy Johnny Morris strode to the crease. Tulsiani, suffering from a worrying lack of hangover, found the going uncharacteristically tough. At the other end, Morris was having no such problems as he scythed four successive boundaries much to the delight of the crowd.

Both openers fell for 17 in pursuit of an unlikely victory, quickly followed by a selfless Skinner (3) who was bowled trying to up the rate by attempting to hit a 12. The target now out of reach, Dulwich settled for consolidating a winning draw as Rostami (32), Munawar (26) treating the crowd to some extravagant stroke play. The league’s greatest keeper-batsman, Ajmal Patankar (26*) and accomplished finisher Balch* (6*) saw Dulwich to 130/5 at the close, comfortably ahead of the 85 required to claim a winning draw.

Despite their efforts in getting the game back on, Dulwich only received 4 points return for a comfortable winning draw – the same as they would have managed for an abandoned game – with Bank taking home an even harsher 3 point haul. With Cranleigh unaffected by rain and managing to win, Dulwich drop back to second place in the table. There is plenty of the season left, though, and whilst batting, bowling and fielding were not up to scratch this week, in a wet summer the hours of practice on the bowdry may yet prove invaluable…

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